Vox has the story on why the US has no federal paid time off laws, and how this affects our health and happiness as a nation:
In recent years, a growing body of research has found a clear link between taking time off work and improved health, relationships, mood, productivity, and morale, while reducing stress, depression and chronic illness. In Sweden, where the entire nation takes the month of July off, researchers noted a steep drop in antidepressant use and an increase in what they called “collective restoration.” One study in the US of middle-aged men with a high risk for coronary heart disease found that vacations reduced their risk of mortality, and quite literally, saved their lives.
In my job, I often hear from people who say they have time to fix their computer or do other work-related tasks because they’re on PTO this week. (PTO is the American corporate term for holiday or vacation pay.) Yeah, they’re using their paid vacation time to do work they’re too busy to do during the rest of the year. I think people in the US see asking for time off as some sort of weakness, but really that paid time off is making workers in other countries more productive and healthier. It’s a bad habit this country needs to break.